The Year in Entertainment: Celebrity Downfalls

In Hollywood, 2002 could go down as the year of the fallen star.

Throughout the past 12 months, we've watched a host of celebs tumble from grace. We've witnessed once-successful Tinseltownies like Winona Ryder and Nick Nolte tangle with the law; eccentric pop icon Michael Jackson grow battier by the day and girl-next-door stars like Rosie and Britney turn nasty.

In the first of a two-part series, revisits some of the more memorable celebrity downfalls of 2002.

Michael Jackson: The King of Pop spun out of control long ago, but this year he spiraled into the truly bizarre through a series of missteps. He precariously held his baby over a Berlin balcony as shocked fans watched agape; called Sony Music chief and former friend Tommy Mottola "racist" and "devilish" while on a New York City bus tour with Al Sharpton; made goofy faces in court and got caught with a piece of his surgically-mutilated nose hanging off.

Winona Ryder: The Girl, Interrupted star, whose career has been stalled for years now, was convicted of grand theft and vandalism for walking out of Saks Fifth Avenue with an armful of clothes and other merchandise. She'll likely never escape the shoplifting jokes. But this is Hollywood, and Hollywood tends to forgive and forget … eventually. An acclaimed role as a charming thief with sticky fingers just might be the comeback part she'll stumble upon.

Robert Blake: The former Baretta star went from his posh California mansion to the "big house," winding up behind bars on charges of murdering his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. The 1970s TV actor has pleaded not guilty.

Nick Nolte: The Down and Out in Beverly Hills star looked a little too much like his garbage-eating character from the 1986 movie when he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Rosie O'Donnell: The "Queen of Nice" talk-show host dumped her show, her magazine and her shoulder-length locks. After she made some cutting jokes about Winona Ryder, some are now calling Rosie the "Queen of Mean."

Britney Spears: The Pop-Princess-turned-Pop-Tart wisely took a break from public life after reports of her smoking, cussing and losing her virginity. Fans wait with bated breath to see how the singer remakes herself in 2003.

Christina Aguilera: In the 'dirtiest' video to make it onto MTV this year, Aguilera sank from just plain lowbrow to the bottom of the barrel. Maybe if she shows a little less skin, she can regain some ground in 2003. Otherwise, Christina's too dirty to touch.

Whitney Houston: In an attempt to save her career and boost sales of what was supposed to be her comeback album, Just Whitney, the diva gave Diane Sawyer an exclusive interview in which she tried to dispel rumors that she's on drugs and her husband is an abusive control freak. Her efforts apparently fell flat, considering the next-day buzz about how Whitney still looked like she was on drugs and Bobby Brown still sounded like an abusive control freak.

In Part II, highlights celebrity renaissances and unexpected phenomena of the past year.